Sunday, October 2, 2011

Afghan aide Burhanuddin Rabbani's killer 'Pakistani'

Burhanuddin Rabbani, file pic from June 2010 As a university lecturer in the 1970s, Rabbani was the founding father of the Afghan mujahideen
The Afghan government says its investigations show that the killer of Burhanuddin Rabbani, its negotiator with the Taliban, was a Pakistani.
Evidence from the case showed the murder was plotted in the Pakistani city of Quetta, a statement said.
Rabbani was assassinated on 20 September by a suicide attacker who purported to be a Taliban peace envoy.
Kabul has often accused Pakistan's government of supporting militant groups, a charge Islamabad denies.
After Rabbani's death, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government would no longer hold peace talks with the Taliban, but would focus on dialogue with Pakistan.
'Message of peace' The Afghan government statement quoted its investigators as saying: "Documents and evidence together with the biography, address and phone numbers of suspects involved in the incident have been submitted to the government of Pakistan in order to arrest and hand [suspects] over."
A spokesman for Mr Karzai, Siamak Herawi, reiterated on Sunday that peace talks with the Taliban were suspended and that a new peace strategy would be spelled out "very soon".
Afghan men in Kabul take part in an anti-Pakistan protest, 2 Oct Afghan men in Kabul take part in an anti-Pakistan protest
On Friday, Mr Karzai made it clear where the efforts should focus.
He said: "[Taliban leader] Mullah Omar doesn't have an address... their peace emissary turns out to be a killer, whom should we talk to?
"The Afghan nation asks me who's the other party that you hold talks with? My answer is, Pakistan."
Both Afghanistan and the US have accused Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, of supporting militant groups.
In particular, the ISI is accused of backing the Haqqani network, said to be behind a series of high-profile attacks on US and Afghan government targets in Kabul.
On Saturday Afghan Interior Minister Besmillah Mohammadi said that "without doubt" the ISI was also involved in Rabbani's killing.
Pakistan has regularly denied supporting militant groups.
Rabbani was the leader of the Peace Council, constituted by Mr Karzai and tasked with negotiating with the Taliban.
Rabbani was killed in his own home while meeting two men claiming to be from the Taliban, one of whom had a bomb hidden in his turban.
The Peace Council said it had been in touch with what it believed to be the Taliban high command based in Quetta, and was told a messenger would be sent to Kabul.
The attacker purported to have a "message of peace" and had sent a CD which even the president heard, to get access to Rabbani.
Officials say they believed the message would signal a major breakthrough, but it proved to be a trick.
The Taliban have said so far only that they do not wish to comment on the killing.
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